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The sweaty downstairs hallow of the Middle East Club warmly welcomed KRS-One and his messianic message with sold out love. Calling it “hip-hop perfection,” the Blastmaster noted three reasons for what made this night special: concert promoter Leedz graciously met KRS-One on arrival, sound engineering gave quality control of monitor levels, and proper pours from mixologists behind the bar.
Folks in the front row who brought red bound copies of KRS-One’s Gospel of Hip Hop: First Instrument exemplified the strong Boston and Cambridge support. As their books waived from side to side, it was as if a library had dropped in for some classic cuts. For the first half of the show, KRS-One hustled through his expansive collection of BDP hits (“Bridge is Over,” “South Bronx”) and taught some Hip-Hop 101 by channeling 2Pac and Wu-Tang flows for quick covers. Never pausing, the MC shifted from style to style and bounded across the stage with energy unexpected from a 48-year-old lyricist.▼ Article continues below ▼
Unfortunately, the closing section of the set bogged down with early audience exits and a side rapper who disregarded KRS-One’s sermons in favor of “smacking folks.” As part of KRS One’s transformation into a philosopher, between songs he addressed topics ranging from technology’s grip on humanity to immigration policy, and demonstrated the definition of edutainment: becoming the perfect conductor for traveling back to the Boom Bap era.
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Where: Middle East Downstairs – Cambridge, MA
When: April 17, 2014